Sep 24, 2019

Kik to shut down chat app, focus on cryptocurrency legal fight

Photo: Kik

Kik, the Canadian maker of a messaging app popular with teens, is shutting down its app and laying off most of its employees to focus solely on Kin, the cryptocurrency it created.

Why it matters: Kik is embattled with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over whether or not Kin is a cryptocurrency or a security — and that battle is proving more costly than the company anticipated.

Go deeper: SEC sues chat app Kik over its $100 million token sale

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Kik messaging app avoids collapse in sale to MediaLab

Kik Interactive sold its eponymous mobile messaging app and other select assets to MediaLab, a Los Angeles-based holding company whose brands include Whisper, for an undisclosed amount of cash.

Why it matters: The app has over 300 million registered users, but was in jeopardy of being shuttered due to legal costs related to Kik's ongoing dispute with the SEC over an initial coin offering for its Kin cryptocurrency. A source says that the deal will leave Kik with around 20 core developers to work on Kin.

Go deeperArrowOct 21, 2019

SEC halts high-profile Telegram digital tokens

Photo Illustration: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has obtained a court order to temporarily halt the distribution of digital tokens sold by messaging app Telegram for failing to register as a sale of securities.

Why it matters: This is the most high-profile "initial coin offering" (ICO) in which the SEC has intervened. The ICO attracted buyers that included top Silicon Valley VCs and cryptocurrency investors (the commission found that it sold 1 billion tokens to 39 U.S. purchasers).

Keep ReadingArrowOct 11, 2019

Apple takes down app used to track Hong Kong police

A protester throws a tear gas canister fired by Hong Kong police, Oct. 1. Photo: Isaac Lawrence/AFP/Getty Images

Confronted with evidence of danger to police and citizens, Apple removed an app Wednesday night that "has been used in ways that endanger law enforcement and residents in Hong Kong," an Apple statement said.

  • Why it matters: With pro-democracy riots in their 18th week, the app — HKmap.live — has allowed users to track police movements, then target and ambush officers. Apple determined that those uses violate both App Store policy and Hong Kong law.
  • Hong Kong authorities, who had complained about the app, said it also was being used to victimize residents in areas where police weren’t present.
Go deeperArrowOct 10, 2019